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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

How to cure America's economy.

The above video is a stark and even shocking reminder of what American politics used to look like. I urge you to watch it and ask where these men are today.

The 1950s was the heyday of US free market economics. If you were white, middle class, and paid into your pension fund you are now living a superb life in most cases and not only own your own home outright but have invested in enough fixed-income products to see you through this current hyper-squeeze...

But most Americans aren't 75 and aren't enjoying the sun-kissed beaches of Florida. They're mostly struggling to balance outlandish credit card bills and pay the mortgage on homes worth 30% less than what they paid for them.

There is a myth in US public life that it was free, courageous Lone Wolf entrepreneurship that made modern America. That is only half the story. What also allowed America's poorest to become America's richest was a fair tax system and firm labour laws which prevented the kind of shameless profiteering which turned the South into a land where in the 1960s Bobby Kennedy saw children eating rats. Yes, rats. By taxing the multi-nationals and investing in the South some of the injustice was undone. That is what is called "wealth distribution"; tackling greed and investing in those who have nothing.

The Republican movement in the US is as dominated by big business as it was in the 1950s and some would argue more so. Yet Americans today are frequently spouting the same erroneous "robbing the middle class to feed the lazy" rhetoric which was the propaganda of the most backed and funded senators of yesteryear as it is this year.

US personal income tax today reflects not the American economic reality but the dreamworld of the 1950s; it is based on denial, the failure to accept that free flow of investment just isn't heading America's way any more and hasn't been heading America's way for a decade since George W Bush launched the US into a grossly immoral and illegal war to secure cheaper oil from Iraq. That war turned foreign investment off to an extent where global powers began to ask a basic question: If the US government is being this short-sighted politically then is it wise to put our money there instead of in Europe, Russia or Asia?

The overarching problem is one that simply isn't being discussed in the US and it boggles the mind that Americans still haven't tackled it: the campaign funding of political candidates by major lobbying groups.

The lobbying sector in America is now an industry entire unto itself; US multinationals and sinister groups such as the AIPAC (pushing America into supporting Israel against the actual majority of US opinion in favour of Palestinian liberty) now flourish to such an extent where there are more lobbyists that members of congress. Some might argue this is natural, that it requires teams to change legislation. But think about it for a second - why are thousands of people paid very high salaries to push legislation in the US? Answer: because they know how weak US legislation on lobby groups is.

There hasn't been a statesman in US politics since Clinton; a man or woman who steps over partisan opinion and acts on a moral basis BEFORE the crisis occurs. Instead, the US political world is packed with men and women who stay silent on vast swathes of social justice issues in order to secure financial backing needed to print posters and appear on tv commercials. This is why US politics is such a divided and childish mess, it just hasn't been free to mature.

What is required in American politics is a wholesale obliteration of candidates' funding. Like in the UK and everywhere else in Europe, American candidates need to be forced to stand on openly declared positions instead of reliant simply on Grand Money Wars, where "he who raises most, laughs longest".

Just look at it: One month Obama is proclaiming what the entire world has said for 50 years, "A free Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders is a vital element to a world at peace". Just a few short weeks later he stands up at the UN and instantly loses all political credit in global opinion by backing Israel to the hilt. How could such a shameless backtracking occur? Because AIPAC has lots of money and will spend it on candidates who oppose Palestinian liberty.

So come on, how is it that America has been warned about low corporate tax and high spending for over two decades yet not a single important change in US taxation has occurred in that same period? How can America have been spending on credit for almost a generation and yet not a voice in Congress was raised? Simple: almost every single senator and representative in the two chambers today is to some form or other indebted to big business to the tune of millions. Unless you're a Ross Perot or a Bush you simply do not have the personal funds to stand for election. And that is not a mature political society, that is buying your way to power.

Unless Americans rise up and destroy the lobby world they will never see justice in their broken economy and neither will they see America placed back among the nations of the free world who act together. 

With the collapse of the industrial heartland of the US, the question has got to be asked: Why is no major US media outlet covering campaign funding? Why is the Tea Party movement being allowed to spout the kind of un-American heartless vitriol which denies the basic quality of the American people which once made them so loved - their generosity.

I'm a good example of what's wrong in US politics (that doesn't sound right...) - I used to follow American politics because I believed in its ability to change and inspire. Now I follow it because it's just so bizarre and fascinating.

With the above video I want Americans to be reminded of what their politicians once sounded like. I want them to see that something very serious has died in the political fabric of their society and that it has died because they themselves have been silent on electoral campaign funding. Bobby Kennedy went into every poor district of the US, he left no corner of the country unheard and he built a political base which was a popular movement among the youth, NOT a campaign founded on corporate funding. He won his elections because he was out on the streets exhausting himself.

I believe in America. Let's hope the US public wakes up and starts finally marching on Washington again.

Believe in your country; get up and start taking the Capitol back from the hands of big business and start forcing your candidates to act like statesmen.

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